Afellay moves to Schalke
Netherlands international Ibrahim Afellay has moved to Schalke on a season-long loan deal from Barcelona.
Afellay, 26, arrived at the club on Friday morning, and will play under coach Huub Stevens - who knows the winger from their time together at PSV Eindhoven.
"I am very much looking forward to seeing Ibrahim again. He has got special qualities and can play numerous positions. In Eindhoven he played in central midfield, but he can also play on the wings," Stevens said about his new signing.
Afellay will compete with the likes of Lewis Holtby, Julian Draxler and Jefferson Farfan for a place in midfield and could be just the player Schalke need to progress in Champions League, where they were drawn against Arsenal, Olympiakos and Montpellier on Thursday.
"I feel good and fit. I will train with the team for the first time on Firday afternoon. After that is is up to the coach if I make the squad," Afellay stated. Asked if compatriots Stevens and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar encourages him to sign for the club, Afellay responded: "There was nothing much to report really. I was aware that Schalke is a great club with a fantastic aura. I will do everything I can to integrate and feel fine here. I also know Jefferson Farfan, who played alongside me during the Eindhoven days."
The club is also relieved to hear Kryiakos Papadopoulos has ended all speculation about his future and committed himself to Schalke. He said: "I am staying because I like playing for Schalke." Papadopoulos, 20, had been targeted by Zenit St. Petersburg and the Russian club had reportedly offered €20 million for the centre-back.
"Zenit St. Petersburg have been very very persistent. But the talks we had were fair and in atmosphere of friendship," explained Schalke sporting director Horst Heldt.
"That's the reason Papadopoulos and Schalke as well took the time to listen to their offer,even if we did not move from our position which was keeping Papa at Schalke. We are happy, Papa sees his future here at Schalke." Papadopolous admitted he was tempted to move to Russia, but feels he made the right decision in the end, he said: "Anyone can conceive the offer was a financially lucrative one. But the fact I will remain here says everything about how I value the club: I am staying because I like playing for Schalke" The Ruhrpott team have offloaded fringe player Edu, 30, to Bundesliga side Greuther Furth in a loan deal until January. Schalke have also transfer listed Manuel Jurado. The 26-year-old Spaniard is set for a move to move to Spartak Moscow. Schalke will have to do without Peru international Jefferson Farfan again. Immediately after coming back from a knee injury the winger picked up in pre-season, Farfan limped off the training pitch on Thursday after again injuring his knee. It remains doubtful he will be fit to play on Saturday.